There are days when life is hard, when your body hurts, when you just want to stay in bed; for those of us with a chronic illness or autoimmune disease we have days when getting out of bed isn’t even an option, no matter what we want to do, or have scheduled that day.
Recently I was advised to seek medical retirement, my heart is still in nursing but my body just can’t keep up with my desires at this point. I have had a few people question me about my smiling face and good attitude, I believe I have mentioned before that I am a firm believer in forcing a smile until it becomes a real one. Honestly, I have been in limbo for well over a year and to know for sure what my next step is, is a huge relief. I always knew my body could not take the physical part of nursing forever, I just thought I had 10 or 15 years left and now poof, they are over. Maybe now is better, while I am young enough to turn my life in a different direction.
I have spent most of my nursing career in gerontology and I absolutely love it, that part of my life does not have to be over, I am hoping to volunteer some hours, spend some 1:1 time, do all the things busy nurses have a hard time finding time for some days. I also can spend some time traveling, reading, trying new recipes, all the things I have never had time for before.
I am not always happy, I don’t know anyone who is, but, I am always at peace, and that is a beautiful thing. I am content that where I am in my life is exactly where I am supposed to be, and this is not a disaster, or the end of the story, it’s the beginning of a new act. Inner peace assures that no matter what life throws at us, even if we are completely unprepared, it also helps us to face trouble with a modicum of grace.
There have been nights I cried, and have been scared, it is sometimes hard for me to give it up to God, I have a tendency to try and take it back, which is not fully trusting. I find that meditation helps one regain equilibrium, as does exercise, prayer, good friends, etc.
When exercising I had to learn to stop comparing myself to the way I was prior to being sick, this actually is true of all things physical, instead I compare myself to when I first had sudden onset of symptoms and how much better I am since then. On Easter I went to services at Mt. Rushmore with a couple friends, I was a little upset that the walk was so hard for me,but then I realized, this is the farthest I have been able to walk in months! Success! I stopped thinking of myself as someone “broken,” I am a realist, if nothing else, this is who I am now, I choose to see what I am still capable of doing, changes I am still able to make, rather than be sad about who I was before, that is an unfair comparison, might as well compare my butt now to when I was 17, it’s never going to be like that again… but… it is very good now, and will continue to be good, maybe even better.
My advice to my loved ones would be, sometimes look behind the smile, don’t push when I say I’m too tired for something, and if I forget to tell you how grateful I am for your friendship please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers, and I am thankful, every day.
About the author:
MamaSteph has 2 kids by birth and several by love, she is a nurse and enjoys finding healthier ways to make comfort foods, gardening, enjoying nature, and living life to the fullest…For a list of her blogs please click here.